BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (ABP) – Samford University's board of trustees unanimously elected Andrew Westmoreland Samford's 18th president Jan. 10.
Currently president of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark., which he has led since 1998, Westmoreland will replace Thomas Corts, who retires May 31. Corts has served as president of the school since 1983.
Westmoreland, 48, was recommended to the board by an 18-member presidential search committee after an eight-month national search involving more than 140 applicants.
William J. Stevens, chairman of the board of trustees, introduced Westmoreland at a news conference following his election at a special meeting of the board.
“The board is very confident that Dr. Westmoreland is just the person to lead Samford at this point in the university's 164-year history,” said Stevens. “He comes to us highly recommended not just by the search committee and the constituent reference panels (who met with Westmoreland in December), but by everyone who was contacted about his ability to lead a great university like Samford.”
Stevens noted that Westmoreland “brings an outstanding record of academic leadership” and that he is a highly effective administrator and “a proven fundraiser.” The board chairman, who also was a member of the presidential search committee, said that as the committee worked to narrow its focus in the fall, “it became very clear that Dr. Westmoreland was someone deserving of our attention.”
Westmoreland said he accepted the board's invitation to become Samford's president “with appreciation for their trust in me…and with a strong sense of excitement for Samford's future.” He will continue as president of Ouachita for the next four months, but will be involved in some transition plans with Samford before June 1, said Stevens.
“The board has asked President Corts to be available through the summer months to consult with Dr. Westmoreland on transition plans, and he has graciously agreed to help in whatever is needed to make this a smooth transition for everyone and, most importantly, for the university,” said Stevens.
Westmoreland added, “I pledge that the transition between these administrations will be seamless, harmonious and respectful of the fabric of institutional life.”
Prior to being named Ouachita president, Westmoreland served 19 years in various administrative capacities at the Arkansas Baptist institution, including executive vice president and vice president for development.
He directed two campaigns that raised $68.7 million for Ouachita while serving in the development post. During his presidency, Ouachita completed another campaign that raised $62.5 million during 2002-05.
A Batesville, Ark., native, Westmoreland is a 1979 graduate of Ouachita. He earned a master's degree in political science from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
As Ouachita's president, he also taught a course in political science each semester.
Westmoreland's wife, Jeanna, is dean of the Ouachita School of Education and chair of the Arkansas Board of Education. Their daughter, Riley, is a high school sophomore.
Ouachita enrolls about 1,500 undergraduates compared to Samford's 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students. U.S. News & World Report ranked Ouachita fifth in the South in its category (regional comprehensive colleges) and Samford third in the South in its category (master's degree universities).